13 research outputs found

    Cross-sectional analysis of the humoral response after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in Sardinian multiple sclerosis patients, a follow-up study

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    Monitoring immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and its clinical efficacy over time in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients treated with disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) help to establish the optimal strategies to ensure adequate COVID-19 protection without compromising disease control offered by DMTs. Following our previous observations on the humoral response one month after two doses of BNT162b2 vaccine (T1) in MS patients differently treated, here we present a cross-sectional and longitudinal follow-up analysis six months following vaccination (T2, n=662) and one month following the first booster (T3, n=185). Consistent with results at T1, humoral responses were decreased in MS patients treated with fingolimod and anti-CD20 therapies compared with untreated patients also at the time points considered here (T2 and T3). Interestingly, a strong upregulation one month after the booster was observed in patients under every DMTs analyzed, including those treated with fingolimod and anti-CD20 therapies. Although patients taking these latter therapies had a higher rate of COVID-19 infection five months after the first booster, only mild symptoms that did not require hospitalization were reported for all the DMTs analyzed here. Based on these findings we anticipate that additional vaccine booster shots will likely further improve immune responses and COVID-19 protection in MS patients treated with any DMT

    The Changing Landscape for Stroke\ua0Prevention in AF: Findings From the GLORIA-AF Registry Phase 2

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    Background GLORIA-AF (Global Registry on Long-Term Oral Antithrombotic Treatment in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation) is a prospective, global registry program describing antithrombotic treatment patterns in patients with newly diagnosed nonvalvular atrial fibrillation at risk of stroke. Phase 2 began when dabigatran, the first non\u2013vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant (NOAC), became available. Objectives This study sought to describe phase 2 baseline data and compare these with the pre-NOAC era collected during phase 1. Methods During phase 2, 15,641 consenting patients were enrolled (November 2011 to December 2014); 15,092 were eligible. This pre-specified cross-sectional analysis describes eligible patients\u2019 baseline characteristics. Atrial fibrillation disease characteristics, medical outcomes, and concomitant diseases and medications were collected. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results Of the total patients, 45.5% were female; median age was 71 (interquartile range: 64, 78) years. Patients were from Europe (47.1%), North America (22.5%), Asia (20.3%), Latin America (6.0%), and the Middle East/Africa (4.0%). Most had high stroke risk (CHA2DS2-VASc [Congestive heart failure, Hypertension, Age  6575 years, Diabetes mellitus, previous Stroke, Vascular disease, Age 65 to 74 years, Sex category] score  652; 86.1%); 13.9% had moderate risk (CHA2DS2-VASc = 1). Overall, 79.9% received oral anticoagulants, of whom 47.6% received NOAC and 32.3% vitamin K antagonists (VKA); 12.1% received antiplatelet agents; 7.8% received no antithrombotic treatment. For comparison, the proportion of phase 1 patients (of N = 1,063 all eligible) prescribed VKA was 32.8%, acetylsalicylic acid 41.7%, and no therapy 20.2%. In Europe in phase 2, treatment with NOAC was more common than VKA (52.3% and 37.8%, respectively); 6.0% of patients received antiplatelet treatment; and 3.8% received no antithrombotic treatment. In North America, 52.1%, 26.2%, and 14.0% of patients received NOAC, VKA, and antiplatelet drugs, respectively; 7.5% received no antithrombotic treatment. NOAC use was less common in Asia (27.7%), where 27.5% of patients received VKA, 25.0% antiplatelet drugs, and 19.8% no antithrombotic treatment. Conclusions The baseline data from GLORIA-AF phase 2 demonstrate that in newly diagnosed nonvalvular atrial fibrillation patients, NOAC have been highly adopted into practice, becoming more frequently prescribed than VKA in Europe and North America. Worldwide, however, a large proportion of patients remain undertreated, particularly in Asia and North America. (Global Registry on Long-Term Oral Antithrombotic Treatment in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation [GLORIA-AF]; NCT01468701

    Investigation of the role of an evolutionarily selected autoimmunity variant in the BAFF gene in response to Malaria antigens

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    Population genetics signatures have revealed that an autoimmunity variant (BAFF-var) overexpressing soluble BAFF (sBAFF) showed significant evidence of positive selection, possibly due to adaptations to malaria infection. Interestingly, different studies have shown that mice overexpressing BAFF are protected from lethal Malaria infections. The aim of this project is to elucidate the role of BAFF-var during the response to malaria antigens, and thus to explain the possible protective role of BAFF-var. We prepared lysates of erythrocytes infected (iRBCs) or not infected (Control, uRBCs) with Plasmodium falciparum, a malaria pathogen that was highly prevalent in Sardinia were BAFF-var was detected and has been positively selected. The lysates were used to stimulate PBMCs genotyped for BAFF-var. After stimulation, samples were analyzed for differential gene expression and cell profiles by flow cytometry. In PBMCs purified from BAFF-var donors and treated with iRBCs, differential levels of B- and T- cell subpopulations, immunoglobulins as well as several cytokines were observed. These variations were associated with differential gene expression in several immune-related pathways such as the NFkB2 pathway and cytokines as determined by changes in RNA and protein levels. Increased production of sBAFF was observed in patients carrying the BAFF-var allele, which leads to an increased risk of autoimmunity. Differential gene expression, levels of specific B and T cells and cytokines secretion, implicated in malaria response potentially enhanced protection against malaria. These findings describe a previously unknown mechanism by which BAFF-var can potentiate the immune system against Plasmodium infection

    Genetic Variation among Pharmacogenes in the Sardinian Population

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    Pharmacogenetics (PGx) aims to identify the genetic factors that determine inter-individual differences in response to drug treatment maximizing efficacy while decreasing the risk of adverse events. Estimating the prevalence of PGx variants involved in drug response, is a critical preparatory step for large-scale implementation of a personalized medicine program in a target population. Here, we profiled pharmacogenetic variation in fourteen clinically relevant genes in a representative sample set of 1577 unrelated sequenced Sardinians, an ancient island population that accounts for genetic variation in Europe as a whole, and, at the same time is enriched in genetic variants that are very rare elsewhere. To this end, we used PGxPOP, a PGx allele caller based on the guidelines created by the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC), to identify the main phenotypes associated with the PGx alleles most represented in Sardinians. We estimated that 99.43% of Sardinian individuals might potentially respond atypically to at least one drug, that on average each individual is expected to have an abnormal response to about 17 drugs, and that for 27 drugs the fraction of the population at risk of atypical responses to therapy is more than 40%. Finally, we identified 174 pharmacogenetic variants for which the minor allele frequency was at least 10% higher among Sardinians as compared to other European populations, a fact that may contribute to substantial interpopulation variability in drug response phenotypes. This study provides baseline information for further large-scale pharmacogenomic investigations in the Sardinian population and underlines the importance of PGx characterization of diverse European populations, such as Sardinians

    Identification of atrial-enriched lncRNA Walras linked to cardiomyocyte cytoarchitecture and atrial fibrillation

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    Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most prevalent cardiac arrhythmia in humans. Genetic and genomic analyses have recently demonstrated that the homeobox transcription factor Pitx2 plays a fundamental role regulating expression of distinct growth factors, microRNAs and ion channels leading to morphological and molecular alterations that promote the onset of AF. Here we address the plausible contribution of long non-coding (lnc)RNAs within the Pitx2>Wnt>miRNA signaling pathway. In silico analyses of annotated lncRNAs in the vicinity of the Pitx2, Wnt8 and Wnt11 chromosomal loci identified five novel lncRNAs with differential expression during cardiac development. Importantly, three of them, Walaa, Walras, and Wallrd, are evolutionarily conserved in humans and displayed preferential atrial expression during embryogenesis. In addition, Walrad displayed moderate expression during embryogenesis but was more abundant in the right atrium. Walaa, Walras and Wallrd were distinctly regulated by Pitx2, Wnt8, and Wnt11, and Wallrd was severely elevated in conditional atrium-specific Pitx2-deficient mice. Furthermore, pro-arrhythmogenic and pro-hypertrophic substrate administration to primary cardiomyocyte cell cultures consistently modulate expression of these lncRNAs, supporting distinct modulatory roles of the AF cardiovascular risk factors in the regulation of these lncRNAs. Walras affinity pulldown assays revealed its association with distinct cytoplasmic and nuclear proteins previously involved in cardiac pathophysiology, while loss-of-function assays further support a pivotal role of this lncRNA in cytoskeletal organization. We propose that lncRNAs Walaa, Walras and Wallrd, distinctly regulated by Pitx2>Wnt>miRNA signaling and pro-arrhythmogenic and pro-hypertrophic factors, are implicated in atrial arrhythmogenesis, and Walras additionally in cardiomyocyte cytoarchitecture.This work was supported by a grant- in- aid from the Junta de Andalucía Regional Council to DF and AA [CTS- 446] and by a grant from the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities for the Spanish Government to AA and DF (BFU2015- 67131P). VL, RM, KA, and MG were supported by the NIA IRP, NI